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IGNOU BEGLA-138 - Reading And Speaking Skills

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Reading And Speaking Skills

BEGLA–138 helps students to read and speak English efficiently. The topics covered are learning to read effectively, reading comprehension strategies, developing reading skills, reading a literary text, types of tests (expository, descriptive, narrative, argumentative and persuasive text), formal and informal conversations, and the importance of communication skills. In the practising speaking skills section, students acquire expertise in sounds of English, stress and rhythm in connected speech and voice training, stories, dialogues, role-playing debates, discussions, meetings, and presentations.

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IGNOU BEGLA-138 Code Details

  • University IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University)
  • Title Reading And Speaking Skills
  • Language(s) English
  • Code BEGLA-138
  • Subject English
  • Degree(s) BAG
  • Course Core Courses (CC)

IGNOU BEGLA-138 English Topics Covered

Block 1 - Learning to Read Effectively

  • Unit 1 - The Reading Process
  • Unit 2 - Developing Reading Skills
  • Unit 3 - Learning Reading Comprehension Strategies
  • Unit 4 - Reading a Literary Text

Block 2 - Reading Comprehension: Types of Texts

  • Unit 1 - Expository Text
  • Unit 2 - Descriptive Text
  • Unit 3 - Narrative Text
  • Unit 4 - Argumentative Text
  • Unit 5 - Persuasive Text

Block 3 - Speaking Skills

  • Unit 1 - Importance of Communication Skills
  • Unit 2 - Formal Conversation
  • Unit 3 - Informal Conversation
  • Unit 4 - Telephone Conversation

Block 4 - Practicing Speaking Skills

  • Unit 1 - Pronouncing Correctly-1: Sounds of English
  • Unit 2 - Pronouncing Correctly-2: Stress and Rhythm in Connected Speech and Voice Training
  • Unit 3 - Speaking Activities-1: Stories, Dialogues, Role Playing, Debates
  • Unit 4 - Speaking Activities-2: Participating in Discussions, Meetings, Presentations
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IGNOU BEGLA-138 (July 2023 - January 2024) Assignment Questions

1. Nearly nine years ago, on a warm autumn evening in 1945, I was driving over the mountains of Southern Japan to the city of Nagasaki. I thought I was still in open country when all at once I realized that I was already crossing what had been the city. The shadows which flickered past me in the dusk were not rocks and trees: they were crushed buildings; the bare and skewed ribs of factories, and two crumpled gasometers. The scale of the damage of Nagasaki drained the blood from my heart then, and does so now when I speak of it. For three miles my road lay through a desert which man had made in a second. Now, nine years later, the hydrogen bomb is ready to dwarf this scale, and to turn each mile of destruction into ten miles. And citizens and scientists share at one another and ask: ‘How did we blunder into this nightmare? I put this first as a question of history, because the history of this is known to few people. The fission of uranium was discovered by two German scientists a year before the war. Within a few months, it was reported that Germany had forbidden the export of uranium from the mines of Czechoslovakia which she had just annexed. Scientists on the Continent, in England and America, asked themselves whether the secret weapon on which the Germans were said to be working was an atomic bomb. If the fission of uranium could be used explosively (and this already seemed possible in 1939) it might in theory make an explosion a million times larger than hitherto. The monopoly of such an atomic bomb would give Hitler instant victory, and make him master of Europe and the world. The scientists knew the scale of what they feared very well: they feared first desolation and then slavery. With heavy hearts, they told Albert Einstein what they knew of atomic fission. Einstein had been a pacifist all his life, and he did not easily put his conscience on one side. But it seemed clear to him that no scientist was free to keep this knowledge to himself. He felt that no one could decide whether a nation should or should not use atomic bombs, except the nation itself; the choice must be offered to the nation, and made by those whom the nation has elected to act for it. On August 2, 1939, a month before Hitler invaded Poland, Einstein wrote to President Roosevelt to tell him that he thought an atomic bomb might be made, and he feared that the Germans were trying to make one. This is how it came about that, later in the war, scientists worked together in England, in Canada and America, to make the atomic bomb. They hated war no less than the layman does- no less than the soldier does; they, too, had wrestled with their consciences; and they had decided that their duty was to let the nation use their skill, just as it uses the skill of the solider or the expert in camouflage. The atomic scientists believed that they were in a race against Germany whose outcome might decide, the war even in its last weeks. We know now that the race was almost a walk-over. The Germans were indeed trying to make an atomic explosion, and they thought that they were ahead of the allies. But by our standards, what they had done was pitiful; they had not made a pile that worked, and they believed that the fast chain reaction of an atomic bomb was impossible. The Nazis had made fundamental science a poor relation, and put it under second rate party men with splendid titles. And more deeply, the Nazis had sapped the pith and power of research, the quizzical eye and questioning mind, the urge to find the facts for oneself. There were not enough unconventional ideas in the German atomic projects, and when the younger men did put up some, their leaders always knew better. Answer the following questions based on your reading of the passage 1. What had drained the blood from the heart of the author? 2. Describe the circumstances leading to the making of atom bomb. 3. When was the Hydrogen bomb ready for use? 4. What, according to the author, was the main reason of the failure of the German scientists? 5. What do you learn from the passage about Albert Einstein? 2. Read the following excerpt on the topic Smoking Kills. These lines are written in Persuasive style. Smoking is injurious to health. It not only kills you but destroys the lives of your loved ones as well. Increase in the number of deaths due to lung cancer which is a result of smoking habit; has taken away so many people away from the ones who love them. It leaves a child fatherless and a partner without a support in this life. Now, attempt to write an argumentative paragraph on the same topic. 3a. How is communication disrupted when we choose an inferior medium? Exemplify with an instance from your own life. 3b. How can we ensure the conciseness of our messages while communicating? Explain with at least two examples. 4a. What is information overload? How does it affect communication? 4b. Consider the following domains: Playground, College canteen, College auditorium, Metro station Lecture hall, Father’s office, Multiplex, Police station, Hospital, Kitchen, Court room, Principal’s office. Classify them into formal and informal categories. 5a. Consider the following sentences; i. The plan to evacuate the area won’t work out as there aren’t enough vehicles to drop everyone off at the safe zone. ii. Rohit went ballistic after his brother cocked up his plan to attend the long-awaited event. iii. I want this cleaned immediately. iv. I penalized some of the employees for being always late. Which of the above can be used in a formal conversation? Revise the ones which you feel cannot be used in a formal conversation. 5b. With respect to language and delivery in a formal conversation, what are the blunders that we need to avoid as speakers? 6. Pair up with your best friend in your batch or in your locality. Let your friend assume the role of the Senior Manager of an esteemed bank in which you are an employee. You have been recently promoted to a managerial position due to your consistent performance. You are happy yet anxious about the new responsibility. Engage in a formal conversation in English with your friend, who as a Senior Manager is trying to reassure you that you will be doing well in the new role. Prepare a series of formal conversation between your friend and you. 7 a. Explain how social context influences interpretation with at least two clear examples of informal use of English. 7 b. Explain how linguistic context influences interpretation with at least two clear examples of informal use of English. 8. Pair up with a good friend in your batch or in your locality. Imagine a situation in which your mother has given you the responsibility to go to the grocery store. You are busy with an incomplete assignment. Engage in an informal conversation in English with your friend, telling him or her to do the necessary on your behalf.

IGNOU BEGLA-138 (July 2022 - January 2023) Assignment Questions

1. What do you understand by Comprehension? Explain Expository text and its types. 2. Define ‘communication’. Why are Communication Skills important? Discuss the 7 Cs of communication. 3. Read the passage and answer the following questions: Mike and Morris lived in the same village. While Morris owned the largest jewellery shop in the village, Mike was a poor farmer. Both had large families with many sons, daughters-inlaw and grandchildren. One fine day, Mike, tired of not being able to feed his family, decided to leave the village and move to the city where he was certain to earn enough to feed everyone. Along with his family, he left the village for the city. At night, they stopped under a large tree. There was a stream running nearby where they could freshen up themselves. He told his sons to clear the area below the tree, he told his wife to fetch water and he instructed his daughters-in-law to make up the fire and started cutting wood from the tree himself. They didn’t know that in the branches of the tree, there was a thief hiding. He watched as Mike’s family worked together and also noticed that they had nothing to cook. Mike’s wife also thought the same and asked her husband, “Everything is ready but what shall we eat?” Mike raised his hands to heaven and said “Don’t worry. He is watching all of this from above. He will help us.” The thief got worried as he had seen that the family was large and worked well together. Taking advantage of the fact that they did not know he was hiding in the branches, he decided to make a quick escape. He climbed down safely when they were not looking and ran for his life. But, he left behind the bundle of stolen jewels and money which dropped into Mike’s lap. Mike opened it and jumped with joy when he saw the contents. The family gathered all their belongings and returned to the village. There was great excitement when they told everyone how they got rich. Morris thought that the tree was miraculous and this was a nice and quick way to earn some money. He ordered his family to pack some clothes and they set off as if on a journey. They also stopped under the same tree and Morris started commanding everyone as Mike had done. But no one in his family was willing to obey his orders. Being a rich family, they were used to having servants all around. So, the one who went to the river to fetch water enjoyed a nice bath. The one who went to get wood for fire went off to sleep. Morris’s wife said “Everything is ready but what shall we eat?” Morris raised his hands and said, “Don’t worry. He is watching all of this from above. He will help us.” As soon as he finished saying, the thief jumped down from the tree with a knife in hand. Seeing him, everyone started running around to save their lives. The thief stole everything they had and Morris and his family had to return to the village empty handed, having lost all their valuables that they had taken with them. 1) Why did Mike and his family decide to rest under the thief’s tree? a) Being a large family, they knew that they could easily defeat the thief b) It was a convenient spot for taking a halt at night c) There was a stream nearby and wood enough to build a house d) That was the only large tree that could shelter their large family 2) Which of the following best describes Morris? a) He was a rich businessman b) He bullied his wife c) He paid his servants well d) He was greedy and imitated Mike 3) What did Mike mean when he said “He is watching all this from above”? a) He had spotted the thief and wanted to scare him b) He was telling his wife to have faith in god c) It was just a warning for his family members to stick together d) He was begging the thief to help his family 4) Why did the thief return to the tree? a) To wait for Mike to return b) To set up a trap c) To wait for Morris’s family d) Not mentioned in the passage 5) How did the fellow villagers react to Mike getting rich overnight? a) They were jealous of him b) They were very excited c) They followed his example d) They envied him 4. Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow: 1) The sage of science, Einstein, was sitting in a depressive and pensive mood one evening. His eyes were brimming with tears. The pain was evident on his face. He peeped out of the window of his room. The sun had set a few minutes back. The sky was filled with a reddish glow. At this sunset, he felt that it was humanity that had sunk into devilish darkness and the reddish glow in the sky was the blood of humanity spilling all over the sky from earth. With tired steps, he walked back to his chair and settled down. It was the 9th of August 1945. Three days back, he had felt the same agony as if someone had torn him apart. He was deeply hurt and depressed when they heard on the radio that America had dropped an atom bomb on the Japanese city, Hiroshima. Today, within three days another bomb was dropped on another city, Nagasaki and lakhs of people had been killed. 2) He had heard that the blast released so much energy that it had paled all past destructions in comparison and death had played out a pitiable dance of destruction. The flames that broke out of the bomb were burning, melting and exploding buildings. Scared of the heat of the bomb, people had jumped into lakes and rivers, but the water was boiling and the people too were burnt and killed. The animals in the water were already boiled to death. Animals, trees, herbs, fragrant flowering plants were all turned into ashes. The atomic energy destruction had just not stopped there. It had entered the atmosphere there and had spread radiation that would affect people for generation to come and would also bring about destructive irreversible biological changes in animals and plants. 3) As the news of the atomic attack reached Einstein, and he became aware of the glaring horror of the abuse of atomic energy, his distress and restlessness knew no bounds. He could not control himself and picked up his violin to turn his mind on the other things. While playing the violin, he tried to dissolve in its sad notes, but couldn’t. He was burning on the embers of destruction; his heart was filled with an ocean of agony and tears just continued streaming uncontrollably out of his eyes. Night had fallen. His daughter came up and asked him to eat something as he had not taken anything for the last four days. His voice was restrained and he said, “don’t feel like eating.” 4) He could not sleep that night. Lying down, he was thinking how he had drawn the attention of the then American President Roosevelt towards the destructive powers of an atomic bomb. He had thought that this would be used to scare Hitler and put an end to the barbarism that. However, Roosevelt kept him in the dark and made false promises. Eventually, he had abused Einstein’s equation of E= mc2 that resulted in the destructive experiments. His actions had made science and scientists as murderers. Einstein kept on thinking for a long time. Eventually, he slipped into sleep. When he woke up at dawn, there was a new dawn in him too. The atomic threat had transformed his heart. 5) The next day, he decided to disassociate himself from the scientific policy of the government and all governmental institutions. He decided to open educational institutions for children, adolescents and youth – institutions where along with science, spirituality will be compulsorily taught. 6) To inaugurate this institution, he had invited two great philosophers, Bertrand Russell and Albert Schweitzer. Ten other great scientists who had won Nobel Prizes in different fields were also invited. They all saw a different Einstein, not a great scientist but a sage in him. The institution was opened by garlanding a photo of Mahatma Gandhi. While garlanding the Mahatma, he became emotional and said with a lump in his throat, “I bow down to the great man who fought for the independence of his country through nonviolence. He could do so because he was a truthful man and true spiritualist.” 7) Those who teach science should be taught spirituality too. Without harmony between science and spirituality, the destruction would continue unabated. A few years after this institution was built, a Japanese delegation came to meet him. Einstein broke down in the meeting and said, “You can give me any punishment and I will accept it. Anyway, I have decided to lead my life in penitence.” The Japanese were moved by his sincerity and forgot their grief. 1) Besides two great philosophers how many other scientists were invited by Einstein to inaugurate the institution where spirituality would be compulsorily taught? i) Five (ii) Ten (iii) Eight (iv) Fifteen 2) Which musical instrument did Einstein play when he was in grief? i) Harmonium (ii) Guitar (iii) Violin (iv) Flute 3) Einstein came to know that America had dropped an atom bomb on the Japanese city, Hiroshima through i) Television (ii) Newspaper (iii) Radio (iv) A telephonic message 4) Which American President was told about the destructive power of an atomic bomb? (i) Kennedy (ii) Bill Clinton (iii) Lincoln (iv) Roosevelt 5) Einstein said to the Japanese delegation: i) “You can give me any punishment and I will accept it.” ii) “I am not at fault.” iii) “What could I do?” iv) “The President didn’t agree to my advice.” 6) What did Einstein do to overcome his distress after getting the news of the Narrative Text atomic attack? 7) Which event in 1945, according to Einstein, turned science and scientists into murderers? 8) What did Einstein do to show his displeasure over the atomic attack? 9) Why did Einstein want harmony between science and spirituality while teaching in educational institutes? 10) Which word/phrase means the same as: i) Extreme mental pain (para 1) ii) repentance (para 7) 5. Read the following text: India’s economy is doing well and we have a right to celebrate that. But what we do not like to acknowledge, let alone address, is another fact: our economy and society, is still extremely biased against women. Perhaps paying attention to such inconvenient truths would distract us as we march towards superpower status. In the latest gender gap index report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), India keeps company with the worst in the world. Among the 128 countries that have been evaluated by the WEF, India is ranked 114, followed among others by Yemen, Chad, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Even China, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Botswana fare much better than us. The survey considers the proportion of resources and opportunities made available to women on educational, economic, political and health fronts. It is only in the realm of political empowerment that we seem to have done somewhat OK, ranking 21st. That’s also thanks to a long spell of Prime Ministership by Indira Gandhi. It raises the question why women are so badly off in our country if they are politically empowered. To begin with, we are still largely a feudal and patriarchal society. In many parts of our country – especially in UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab – women are often treated as if they were a piece of property. In these parts, the sex ratio is most skewed because families often snuff out the lives of girl children before, or immediately after, they are born. In many parts of India, women are viewed as an economic liability despite contributing in several ways to our society and economy. The state has not covered itself with glory either in bridging the gender divides. Its policies and projects for women are woefully inadequate. For instance, the literacy rate for females is a mere 48 per cent against 73 per cent for males. Unless we put more of our girl children in school and equip them with quality education – as opposed to making them merely literate – we can forget about sustainable progress. Public health is another area of failure. Hundreds of women in rural India die every year during childbirth for want of medical attention. There are thousands more who do not even have access to a primary health centre. Importantly, reforming property laws more rigorously so that gender parity becomes a reality must rank among the government’s priorities. While these changes are necessary, they will amount to nothing if we, as a society, continue to deny our women the dignity, liberty and opportunities that are rightfully theirs. No society will ever prosper as a whole as long as half of it is constantly treated as somehow less that the other half. 1. On the basis of your understanding of this passage answer the following questions with the help of the given options: a) Write out the correct option: i) India’s economy is unbiased. ii) India’s economy is doing poorly iii) India’s economy is biased against human species iv) India’s economy is biased against women. b) The most important rights of women are ................................. i) dignity and society ii) dignity and literacy iii) dignity and liberty iv) dignity and health c) A society can prosper only if ........................................... i) half of it is given its special rights ii) it recognizes the importance of women iii) it treats men and women differently iv) it constantly treats women no less than its other half d) Hundreds of women in rural India die every year during childbirth i) due to lack of finances. ii) due to lack of literacy. iii) for want of awareness. iv) for want of medical attention. 2. Answer the following questions briefly: a) Why is India ranked 114 by the World Economic Forum? b) In which fields are the women in India empowered? c) What has killing of girl children before or after birth affected the most? d) What is the reason behind the failure of public health? 3. Find a word from the passage having opposite meaning to “asset”. (Para-3) 4. Find a word from the passage having similar meaning to “continuously”. (Para -4) 6. Create a pleasant and positive impression to make a best telephonic conversation against the columns given below: 7. How are story telling, dialogues and role playing important in achieving efficient speaking skills? Explain.
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